Shop Etsy

Meet the Etsy Resolution mentors: Jess Van Den

Jan 22, 2016

by Anna Hickey handmade and vintage goods

Our free, 4-week community-led programme Etsy Resolution starts this Monday 25 January. Have you signed up yet? It is the perfect opportunity for creative minds to kickstart 2016 with the support and skills of top-selling Etsy mentors like Jess Van Den from Epheriell who we are so pleased to introduce you to now.

Jess Van Den is a self-employed silversmith working under the Epheriell label. She’s been making jewellery since 2008, when she opened her Etsy shop to sell her jewellery as a hobby, and turned Epheriell into her full-time occupation in 2010 – bringing her husband Nick on board soon after. She specialises in eco sterling silver wedding rings, and works out of her solar-powered home studio in the countryside north of Brisbane. She’s also the founder and editor of Create & Thrive, where people learn how to turn their handmade hobby into a full-time business from those who’ve done just that.



Five quick questions with Jess

Why is Etsy Resolution a valuable program?

Through taking hundreds of fledging creative entrepreneurs through the process of setting up shop online, I’ve learnt that the biggest stumbling blocks to getting your business up and running are a lack of time, a lack of direction, and a lack of support.

This course ticks all those boxes! It’s not super-time intensive but the lessons cover the absolute fundamentals that every beginner handmade businessperson needs to get a handle on in order to get their shop up and running. With SO much information floating around out there on the internet, it can be super-overwhelming, and you can be tempted to give up before you even start because you don’t know which way to go. Etsy Resolution narrows it down for you to the most important stuff.

Finally, Etsy Resolution includes that all-important element of support. Not only from me, my fellow mentors and the Etsy team, but – even more importantly – from your peers. Learning alongside other people who are passionate, creative, and in the same boat as you is invaluable. So often, people starting a handmade business struggle to get support from family and friends – so having the friendship and help of other creatives is absolute gold.

Why is the new year a good time to start a small creative business?

We’re all bursting with energy and enthusiasm when a new year comes around – it’s naturally a good time to embark on a new ventures and capitalise on all that momentum! The New Year is a fresh start – a time to look at what went well in the previous year – and what we wanted to do but didn’t. Each year rolling around is a reminder that life is short, and if we have a dream, we should dive in and give it a crack – because if we never do, we’ll never know what might have been!

If you’ve been dreaming of starting a handmade business, but held back because of fear or lack of knowledge or support, Etsy Resolution is the perfect thing to help you kick-start your biz in 2015.

Why is Etsy is good place to have a small creative business?

I’ve written about this before but here are a few compelling reasons why you should start – and continue – your business on Etsy.

  • It’s the world’s premier online marketplace
  • It’s the first port of call for many people wanting to buy handmade
  • It’s easy to set-up and use, and has excellent ‘behind-the-scenes’ tools – stats etc
  • It’s an excellent ‘training’ ground – to compete on Etsy you have to play a stellar game with fantastic photos, good descriptions, excellent customer service, etc
  • It engenders immediate trust – people know that if they buy on Etsy they are protected if something goes wrong
  • There’s transparent feedback – do a good job and people will see that and buy from you

What inspires your creative business?

I’m never quite sure where the inspiration for Epheriell comes from. Sometimes ideas grow out of old designs, sometimes I just draw and see what appears on the page, sometimes I am inspired by a customer who asks for something new! When it comes to Create & Thrive, I’m inspired by both my passion to help other people create a business and lifestyle they love – because I know how happy that has made me – and by my readers and students. I learn so much from them, and their questions, enthusiasm, and gratitude spur me on every day to keep going.

What advice do you have for those who are hesitant to get started?

Start now, today! Don’t wait until things are ‘perfect’ – because things are never, ever perfect.

One of my favourite quotes, from Arthur Ashe, is: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Just start. I’ll let you in on a secret – no-one is watching you yet! Get started, learn, experiment, grow, and as you do, your audience will grow with you. Businesses take time to become profitable – they are a marathon, not a sprint – so the sooner you start, the sooner your business will grow and gain momentum.

Don’t let fear or uncertainty hold you back. You will always be afraid (though a little less as time goes on and you gain confidence!) You will always face uncertainty – every day in business is an adventure (that’s half the fun!). Just step onto the path – and take one step at a time towards that mountain of dreams in the distance.

Sign up before January 25th and make your creative dreams a reality in 2016 with Etsy Resolution.


  • Honni4

    Honni from BoLoopiDesigns said 4 years ago

    Thank you Jess!. Good article & great advice already. Really looking forward to starting this programme!

  • marijkedol

    Marijke Doldersum from EDNeedleandBrush said 4 years ago

    I have followed your recommended advice of Arthur Ashe and started my Etsy Shop EDNeedle and Brush today. I have put on 4 items today and will continue tomorrow. Exciting feeling to be honest! I have to laugh about your secret ' nobody is watching me yet!' At this moment a blessing maybe, in the future an issue. Thanks for your wise words, experience and inspiration.

  • Kashuen

    Kashuen Collectibles from Kashuen said 3 years ago

    I cannot agree more: things are never, ever perfect. The best thing is we can always change our etsy listing and change our product a little. I love Etsy.

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